Although there may not have been any shocking new revelations from last night's Nightline report on Foxconn's factories, Apple and others have issued some small corrections and statements. The most notable statement comes from Auret van Heerden, CEO of the Fair Labor Association, which Apple recently joined. Van Heerden has not been shy about commenting on the ongoing work the FLA is doing to inspect factory conditions, and he was forthcoming again about the so-called "five-year conversation" between Apple and the FLA:
The discussions began in April 2007 but stalled in March 2008. We then resumed them in April 2009 and decided to do a small pilot survey so that Apple could get an idea of how our tools might add value to their program. That pilot led to a second activity that I believe contributed to the decision to join the FLA at the end of 2011. I, of course, cannot speak for Apple but I do believe that the decision to join was probably taken some months before (and therefore well before) the New York Times articles.
The comments confirm that Apple has been working with the FLA in at least a limited capacity for some time. For its part, Apple commented a situation where it appeared a worker might have been working two 12-hour shifts — instead clarifying that the 6,000 iPads Zhou Xiao Ying refers to are deburred in two shorter shifts in a single day. Foxconn's statement came in regard to the question of whether workers earn enough to even need to pay taxes, the company said that was only true for 25 percent of its workers, while the other 75 percent of workers who have been there long enough to pass beyond a probationary period could earn that much with overtime.
You can see the full episode of Nightline here.